Inter Milan get American owners after missed payment

Inter fans' wild celebration in shadow of Milan cathedral (1:04)

Inter Milan fans spill out onto the streets to celebrate their club's 20th Serie A title. (1:04)

United States-based investment fund Oaktree Capital Management said on Wednesday it has become the new owner of Serie A champions Inter Milan after a missed €395 million ($428m) payment from the club's Chinese holding company, Suning.

Oaktree granted the loan to Suning in 2021 and it was guaranteed by their stake in the club. Oaktree took charge after Suning failed to meet Tuesday's deadline of repaying the debt.

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Under such a scheme, Oaktree had the potential right to take control of the club in the event of a default on the loan and interest from it.

It had been unclear whether Oaktree would look to sell Inter, but managing director Alejandro Cano said it is looking to the long-term future while a source told Reuters that the fund is not planning to offload the club immediately.

Oaktree will be a "patient investor," the source added.

"Our initial focus is operational and financial stability. We have great respect for Inter Milan's management team," Cano said.

Inter becomes the seventh Serie A club under American ownership. The others are AC Milan, Atalanta, Fiorentina, Roma, Genoa and newly promoted Parma.

Founded in 1908, Inter are among the most famous clubs in Italian football, having won the league 20 times, and are home to top players including Lautaro Martínez and Nicolò Barella.

Suning bought a majority stake in the club in 2016 in one of the highest-profile forays by a Chinese business into European football.

"As new owners, we recognize our responsibility to Inter Milan's community, history and legacy," Cano said in a statement. "We are committed to the long-term success of the Nerazzurri and believe our ambitions for the club are united with those of its passionate fans in Italy and around the world."

In a message on Instagram, the hardcore Inter fans group Curva Nord praised Suning president Steven Zhang for his leadership and thanked him for his contributions to Inter's history.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters was used in this report.